Special Counsel Robert Mueller must testify before Congress regarding his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the Justice Department's subsequent handling of his resulting report, according to an opinion piece published by The Hill. The piece was written by Richard Greene, an author, columnist, radio host, political communications strategist and public speaker.
The article lays out four primary reasons why Mueller needs to appear, despite the special counsel's previous statements that he is wary of participating in what would likely be a political spectacle.
Those four reasons are as follows:
- Non-verbal cues are important. Greene posits that pages of written material will often be less impactful than live testimony, where voice tone and body language can convey substantially more than the written word.
- Avoiding testimony gives President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr a substantial advantage. Greene points out that Trump has enthusiastically repeated his "No collusion, no obstruction," claim and has effectively undermined the investigation in the eyes of many. Mueller's refusal to testify, he says, allows Trump and Barr to continue dominating the conversation in favor of the administration's own narrative.
- Mueller's refusal to appear publicly lends credence to Trump's claims that the investigation was illegitimate. With the president maintaining a steady drumbeat of messages that undercut the legitimacy of the special counsel's investigation, it doesn't look good, according to Greene, that Mueller seems reluctant to stand up for himself and his team publicly.
- Democrats will likewise look weak if Mueller remains silent. Similar to the previous statement, Democrats as a party will appear substantially weak if they seem hesitant to take advantage of the subpoena power at their disposal to effectively make their case, regardless of Mueller's personal preferences and inclinations.
"If Mueller and his team's two years of painstaking work have any value, they have to put a face on it. America will not read a transcript, but it will tune in, and the special counsel's distinguished face, as well as his expressions, the sincerity and conviction and emphasis in his voice," he writes.
"Otherwise, Robert Mueller, instead of being the patriot we all thought he was, will have led us all down a long path only to ultimately bow down and surrender to Donald Trump."